Garage sales have been on Crestview residents’ minds lately.
Not because last-minute spring cleaning plans include offering trash for others’ treasure, but because city leaders’ consideration of garage sale regulation hits too close to home.
The city reportedly has received complaints about residents who abuse garage sales to the point that their front yards become storefronts.
A prudent government should provide code enforcement officials who can occasionally monitor the concern on weekends, City Councilwoman Robyn Helt has said.
However, most of our readers have expressed concern and outright frustration with the slightest hint of government regulation.
And with the slightest information, as the ordinance should be ready in the next couple of months, city planner Eric Davis has said.
Why focus on speculation?
We know that the city requires occupational licenses for long-term businesses, and it has a sign ordinance.
Code enforcement officials should watch out for homeowners who treat their homes as stores — because they’re not paying license taxes.
Verifying that garage sale signs are four square feet or less and vanish five days after the event upholds community standards, prevents littering and protects quality of life.
Enforcing laws already on the books shouldn’t cause much controversy.
Reasonably limiting the number of garage sales per household per year shouldn’t be an issue, either.
However, concern deepens as government reaches into residents’ pocketbooks. Charging a fee to permit people to do something they’ve always known as free seems to be the tipping point.
Panama City requires a free permit, but limits yard sales to three times per calendar year.
Port St. Lucie charges $5 per yard sale permit. The cost covers advertisement on the city’s website, in its newsletter and on the local cable access channel.
On the other side is Miami’s $28.50 permit, which would be out of the question here.
We hope Crestview’s leaders will balance the general constituency’s interest while considering how to handle the few repeat offenders.
Email Crestview News Bulletin Editor Thomas Boni, email@example.com, or tweet him @cnbeditor.